News Releases

T&T Culture and Lingo Immortalised Among the Stars with Dingolay and Ramajay

For Release Upon Receipt - December 18, 2019

St. Augustine


ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. December 17, 2019 – Trinidad and Tobago’s first Star and Exoplanet will be named ‘Dingolay’ and ‘Ramajay’ respectively. This was revealed today, Tuesday 17 December, at the International Astronomical Union's (IAU) global press conference to announce the names of the winning entries for the recent 100th anniversary commemorations (IAU100) NameExoWorlds competition, to name a host star and its exoplanet for selected countries. The winning entry was submitted by Dr Jo-Anne Ferreira, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at The UWI St. Augustine Campus.

Dr Shirin Haque, Senior Lecturer in Astronomy at The UWI St. Augustine Campus and National Outreach Coordinator of the IAU extended her congratulations to Dr. Ferreira and also thanked the public for participating in the competition. "This is truly a Christmas gift to the nation, and an historic moment for Trinidad and Tobago as this is the first time ever a celestial object has been named locally.  We are proud to have our culture and lingo immortalized among the stars," she said.

An elated Dr. Ferreira said, “This is a win for Patois in a year already significant for Patois! The year, 2019, is the 150th anniversary of the first Patois grammar, Prof Emeritus Lawrence Carrington’s Chaconia Gold for Patois language development, and the 10th anniversary of the Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad and Tobago, by a UWI PhD graduate, Lise Winer. Patois is now endangered here, though not elsewhere in the Caribbean or the rest of the world, but our variety of it now has two lexical representatives in the stars!”

Dr. Ferreira, who is also President of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics, will receive the grand prize of a telescope for her winning entrant. “I entered the competition because I love our language and our languages and Caribbean linguistics. I made sure to check Lise Winer’s dictionary for the etymologies and meanings. Everyone should have one at their desk,” she said.

Dingolay means to dance, twist and turn in elaborate movements, symbolising the culture and language of the ancestors of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Ramajay means to sing and make music in a steelpan style, representing the love of culture and languages of the ancestors of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. The lingo is associated with music and carnival festivities of Trinidad and Tobago.

Within the framework of the IAU100 in 2019, 112 countries organised national campaigns that stimulated the direct participation of over 780, 000 people worldwide, who proposed and selected names for each exoplanet and its host star. The IAU is the largest astronomical society of professional astronomers in the world and is the authority responsible for assigning official designations and names to celestial bodies.

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Dr Jo-Anne Ferreira, Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at The UWI St. Augustine Campus Photo courtesy Kevin Hackshaw 


Notes to Editor

  • IAU Press Release
  • View the recorded live stream of the Press Conference IAU100 NameExoWorlds Results Announcement at
  • UWI Today Article by Dr. Shirin Haque: A Star and Exoplanet with a Trinbago Name? Yes Indeed!
  • The exoworld system assigned to Trinidad and Tobago is HD 96063 (host star) and HD 96063b (exoplanet). The system is 515 light years away. The star HD 96093 is a yellow, giant star located in the Leo constellation. While it cannot be seen with the naked eye, it is easily visible using small telescopes and binoculars. HD 96093 is as massive as our Sun; however, it is almost four times larger in size and has an effective temperature of 5308 K (Kelvin, the base unit of temperature in the International System of Units). Calculated to be twice as old as our sun at 9 Billion years, HD 96093 has at least one extrasolar planet in orbit around it – exoplanet HD 96093b.
  • Video: NameExoWorlds Competition to immortalise Trinidad & Tobago among the stars!

About The UWI

For more than 70 years The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has provided service and leadership to the Caribbean region and wider world. The UWI evolved from a university college of London in Jamaica with 33 medical students in 1948 to an internationally respected, regional university with near 50,000 students across five campuses: Cave Hill in Barbados; Five Islands in Antigua and Barbuda; Mona in Jamaica, St. Augustine in Trinidad and Tobago; and an Open Campus. Times Higher Education has ranked The UWI among the top 1,258 universities in world for 2019, and the 40 best universities in its Latin America Rankings for 2018 and 2019. The UWI is the only Caribbean-based university to make the prestigious lists.

As part of its robust globalization agenda, The UWI has established partnering centres with universities in North America, Latin America, Asia, and Africa including the State University of New York (SUNY)-UWI Center for Leadership and Sustainable Development; the Canada-Caribbean Studies Institute with Brock University; the Strategic Alliance for Hemispheric Development with Universidad de los Andes (UNIANDES); The UWI-China Institute of Information Technology, the University of Lagos (UNILAG)-UWI Institute of African and Diaspora Studies and the Institute for Global African Affairs with the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The UWI offers over 800 certificate, diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science & Technology, Social Sciences and Sport. As the region’s premier research academy, The UWI’s foremost objective is driving the growth and development of the regional economy. For more, visit

(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of “The”)